Red has the widest band, and green is in the middle of the visible-light spectrum, so it stands to reason these would be popular as color options for a front sight.
A black front sight provides the traditional textbook sight picture, but that tome was written years ago. Is it still the ultimate solution? Experts at TruGlo and HiViz explain why their palettes don’t rival Sherwin Williams, but let’s start with the basics, first.
“A black front sight on a carry/self-defense handgun is not necessarily ideal as it does not help front-sight focus in all lighting conditions, especially in a situation of increased stress,” according to Trevor Young, director of sales at HiViz. “Adding contrast is key as it helps acquire the front sight in your peripheral vision long before a solid-black sight would. The result is that you can maintain a full view of the target and your front sight while moving the firearm into a shooting position and then transition into a sight picture in one fluid motion.”
“Simply put, bright dots attract the eye,” Pinny Gale, TruGlo marketing manager explained. “A bright-colored sight is easier to find in low light. Even in full daylight, the increased contrast of a bright color makes it easier to properly focus on the sight. Bright-white lines or dots increase contrast, but certain colors can improve visibility even farther.”
“Bright paint is great, but with a single reflective surface it will only be as bright as the light around it,” Gale explains.
“While paint will be better than a plain-black sight typically, it would not work in all shooting conditions and has a limited life span,” Young warned. “However, with few exceptions, a tritium/fiber-optic sight will get the job done.”
“Fiber optics are reflective on the inside, which means they gather light along the entire length of the fiber and channel it to the ends,” Gale clarified. “Looking at the end of a cut fiber-optic optic will be brighter than its surroundings. Fiber optics are a great passive way to increase brightness.”
“One thing we can all agree on is that to be accurate you must be able to form a solid sight picture, and I believe that fiber optic and tritium are unmatched in their ability to help all shooters achieve this goal,” Young summarized. “Because of this, we have worked hard to provide the best HiViz products to help advance the art of shooting. Our LiteWave H3 Tritium/Litepipe Sights provide the best performance for a carry gun ensuring fast sight acquisition and a bright sight picture day or night.”
TruGlo also offers a tritium version with the company’s patented TFX (Tritium + Fiber-optic Xtreme) technology. “This technology combines the daylight benefits of fiber optics with the night-time benefits of tritium to produce a dot that is bright both day and night,” Gale said. “Tritium does not require any light exposure to glow and shooters don’t ever have to worry about batteries running low or getting cold.”
At dawn and dusk Gale suggests green, with red “…the preferred option for most competitive target shooters.”
Young said green/yellow is the spectrum human eyes detect best in most conditions and for that reason it’s the company’s most popular option. Orange takes the next place in number of customer demands and red comes in last because, “… red is a more difficult color for the eye to pick up across multiple lighting conditions.”